28 September 2009

Dual Thoughts on Hunting Ground

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

Yesterday my lovely friend Kerry (from Saving My Sanity) and I were discussing Hunting Ground (Patricia Briggs), which both of us have recently finished reading. We both came to the conclusion that it was an enjoyable read, but...something was missing...or, as Kerry put it, Hunting Ground didn't enthrall as much as Alpha & Omega or Cry Wolf. So, we tried, via email, to put our finger on what that elusive 'something' was....and this is the result. Please note that there are spoilers for Hunting Ground included in this post.

orannia: For me, Anna & Charles' relationship was at the forefront in Alpha & Omega and Cry Wolf. Yes, there was action, but it was their developing relationship that drove the story in both books IMO. However, in Hunting Ground it wasn't Anna & Charles' relationship at the forefront, it was the discussion and potential consequences surrounding the werewolves (OK, the Marrok's) decision to 'come out' (so to speak) *grin* Yes, parts of their relationship were discussed, but for me it wasn't enough. Does my 'but' (as in, 'I liked it, but...') made sense?

Kerry: I think for me it is also that the werewolves 'coming out' could have been a big story, but by making it about bat-sh*t crazy Arthur in the end instead, it turned it into a small story. It was well plotted and interesting, but it didn't feel all that important in the overall scheme of things. I was okay with the Charles and Anna relationship. What was there was very understated, but it showed that Charles knew Anna and knew how to be a good Alpha male. He's similar to Daemon and Lucivar to me in that way - he (along with Brother Wolf) understands that the way to protect is to let your mate spread her wings and be strong, not to smother and belittle in the name of "protection". I really liked that. And that they did their best to communicate when they needed to do so. That's what I absolutely adore about Jaenelle and Daemon - they TALK to each other and solve their problems. Sometimes talking is enough, sometimes it isn't, but they don't have stupid misunderstandings. I don't think Anna and Charles will have all that many misunderstanding either. So for me, the problem was that is was a 'small' story, although I can't define that in a way that necessarily explains what I mean by that.
orannia: Because I just love quotes, I had to throw this quote in to support Kerry's point, which I think is an excellent one :)
'If it would benefit you, I would kill every wolf here. But there are things that you need to do - and interfering with that is not protecting, not in my book. The best way for me to protect you is to encourage you to be able to protect yourself.'
orannia: And once Kerry made that (very good) point I saw where she was going...and realised that while little was made of the 'discussion' over 'coming out', because as was stated in the book it was just a discussion, the European wolves really didn't seem to have a problem 'coming out', and I kept expecting them too....at least one of them.

Don't get us wrong, we both loved the book and will be eagerly awaiting the sequel. It's just fun dissecting a book *grin* So, have you read Hunting Ground and, if so, what did you think? Was it missing something?


  1. I really enjoyed it and I loved the continuing growth of Charles and Anna's relationship. However, I ordered it online and I was surprised by the shorter length. I've read my other Briggs' stories on my ereader so I guess I was expecting the book to be a bit longer (I think Hunting Ground was less than 300 pages). Maybe the others are too, I can't tell when they're on my ereader.

    Either way, I still enjoyed it and can't wait til her next one. Loved your thoughts on the story :)

  2. Thank you Katie. And yes, it was less than 300 pages - 286 IIRC (I always look to see how many pages a book has...a whole other post methinks :) And yes, Charles & Anna's slowly developing relationship is a joy to read about IMO.

  3. Well, I really want to read this series, and that relationship sounds cool. I love the excerpt, too.

    A lot of times, a plot or problem in a story has to have an emotional component for me to feel stongly about it.

    Not that I've even read the thing, now, but could that have been missing with the focus on wolves coming out? Either way, this discussion will make reading the book all the more interesting!!

  4. I think I expected more about the coming out as well...when I started the book but quickly learned that that wasn't the focus at all. I think that Briggs will show us much more of that issue in further books.

  5. CJ - it's a great series, as is Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series (which is set in the same universe but with slightly different characters, although some characters crossover). I look forward to hearing what you think of them when you read them, and yes, Charles & Anna's relationship is just lovely :)

    And that's a really good point - I don't think there wasn't a strong emotional component surrounding the wolves decision to 'come out', and although some of the European wolves were interesting, we didn't get their POV. Hmmm, food for though :)

    Tracy - thank you! Of course...DUH! It's not the actual decision (to 'come out') but the consequences of said decision that are important! For example, Bran's offer to the European wolves - the consequences could be huge! I feel like such an idiot for not working that out :) So, it's mostly a set-up for future books?

  6. Thanks Orannia. I just knew there was something about the story that was 'missing' you nailed it. (and quit apologizing!)

    I didn't like the whole crazy Arthur thing. It could have been great as a sub-plot but as the whole thing it just wasn't enough. And we know who's gonna be the poster boy of werewolves so the whole 'coming out' plot just didn't work for me. Of course I run out and buy her next book (as long as its in paperback) anyway.

  7. You're welcome! Actually, it's all thanks to Kerry, because it was her email about missing something that got me to thinking what it was that about the book that didn't resonate with me as well as the previous books...